Post lunch sessions at the inaugural India PR and Corporate Communication Summit featured two keynote addresses by Thomas Crampton, Asia-Pacific, Director, 360 Digital Influence, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and Abhijit Sarkar, Head - Corporate Communications, Sahara India Parivar. The Summit, an initiative of the exchange4media Group in association with Adfactors Public Relations, was held in Delhi on May 21, 2010.
Thomas Crampton began with the most common topic discussed and heard these days – social media and its power. But he also cautioned that social media had its biological limits. He cited the example of Ashton Kutcher, an American film actor, who has 4 million fans on a social networking site that has created global playgrounds and there are new forms of social interaction involved.
Crampton further suggested the necessity of making the brands and companies aware of the importance of social media. He said, “We are coming up with strategies to make companies understand social media in a better way. It should depend on what one wants to accomplish and what needs to be conveyed to whom.”
Meanwhile, Abhijit Sarkar threw light upon the role of corporate communications in big businesses. He started off by congratulating the organisers for coming up with a meaningful event like the Summit and said, “I must say, this event has given a much needed platform to PR and Corporate Communications professionals from across the nation. I foresee that in the coming future, this platform will become the waterhole for all practitioners, scholars, and followers of communication practice in India and will contribute in the development of this ever evolving function.”
Sarkar stressed that relations with audience as well as investors were equally significant. “For the large businesses, the challenges are always quite different, bigger and multi-dimensional, and likewise, the communication too. Not just the sheer size of the corporate, but the quantum of business, position in the market, the geographical spread, and number of employees, too, are the factors that make it different from that of small and medium sized businesses. At the communications level, the relations with your audience, the variety of your audience, the focus area of your communication, and the vulnerability against various perceptual and actual crises are also some major differentiating factors. So, it is not just the size of the subject matter that is different, but the entire environment around the entity differs too,” he pointed out.
Sarkar cited the example of Sahara India Parivar to further elaborate his point of view. He said, “If you take our example, the Pariwar has 0.08 per cent of the total of India’s population, and its employees, who come from various geographies with different education and skill areas, are also as diverse as can be. This also translates into the fact that we have customers and other stakeholders as diverse as or even more diverse than the members of the Pariwar. The organisation, which has championed catering to the bottom of the pyramid, it became a fashionable word; and now has products and services catered to almost the entire range of demographic segments. Number one is the vision of the organisation, and its functioning is based on the practice of continuous interaction and engagement with depositors, customers and employees.”
Sarkar concluded by emphasising on the importance of communication in a business. He said, “The communication of the organisation is as visionary a step of the entity as its business. The communication head of the organisation should anticipate, apprehend and imagine. He should be part of the organisation’s important decision making. This will help in at least picking the right name for the company, so that they don’t have to change it to the initials of their short-sighted name when they become big.”